Sun to Bow Multi-Core in Manhattan

The new machines, which can scale up to eight cores or 32 threads, aim to cut down server sprawl in data centers.
Determined to regain its swagger in the Unix server space, Sun Microsystems today will introduce new computing machines that pack a rack of servers on one chip to run Internet programs.

The Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers, which CEO Scott McNealy will show off at a press event in New York this morning, include Sun's new CoolThreads technology for running multiple tasks on a single processor.

The machines are based on the Santa Clara, Calif., company's UltraSparc T1 processor, a 9.6 gigahertz technological advancement that goes beyond the current multi-core offerings from Intel, IBM or AMD.

Each of the UltraSparc T1 CoolThreads cores has four threads for a total of 32, said Fadi Azhari, a director in the scalable systems group at Sun. Each thread can perform different tasks in parallel, which speeds processing for applications written to take advantage of it.

While many of the latest dual-core servers allow customers to run two processing engines on a single chip to provide on average 1.5 times the performance of a single piece of silicon, Sun's T1 systems can scale to four, six or even eight cores. This provides a considerable performance boost over other machines in the market.

The servers are Sun's latest example of the multi-core craze that has rivals, such as IBM, HP and Dell, scrambling to build machines that perform better without taking up more space or consuming more energy.

Why the push now for Sun at the end of the year? Sun had originally planned to issue the new servers in 2006, but it has been losing Unix market share to IBM.

Convinced the second phase of the Internet is being stifled by "inefficient architectures powered by Xeon-based systems, as well as IBM Power5 architecture," Azhari said Sun is hyping the T1 machines as more powerful machines than those based on Intel or IBM chips that don't leech power.

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